cherie berry

The legacy of Cherie Berry: Employers stealing from workers

And of course it's the bottom rung getting shafted the worst:

This report looks specifically at employers’ failure to pay the minimum wage to their employees at in the 10 most populous states, including North Carolina, and reveals the magnitude of the impact of wage theft on the low income workers who are least able to withstand it.

Workers in the food and drink industry suffer the highest rates of minimum wage violations, followed by agricultural workers (some of whom are not covered by minimum wage laws), leisure and hospitality, and retail workers. Unsurprisingly, women, young people, people of color, non-citizens, workers with lower levels of education, unmarried, workers, and workers without the protection of a union contract are disproportionately affected, though that is primarily because they are also more likely to be low wage workers.

For some reason, this reminds me of those cat videos, where the feline is perched on a counter top, steadily knocking items off onto the floor in contempt. Berry is that cat, knocking off various groups of workers whom she judges not worthy of her care or consideration. But this national report comes as no surprise to those who have been following her dereliction of duty for so many years:

The Elevator Queen of quid-pro-quo

Cherie Berry has some questions to answer:

He pointed to contributions totaling $10,000 from Ronald Cameron, the chairman and CEO of Mountaire Farms, a large poultry producer based in Delaware. Mountaire Farms has had a previous workplace death and had three open cases before the labor department earlier this year, Meeker noted.

Cameron, who lives in Arkansas, was Berry’s largest contributor, Meeker said. Executives for Mountaire did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon. “This is not right,” Meeker said. “North Carolina citizens deserve better from our public officials.”

The lack of ethics among GOP elected officials is astounding. And their lame denials all seem to be written by the same incompetent fool:

Berryliction of duty

One wonders just what NC Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry does all day. She doesn't go after businesses who break labor laws. Heck, she doesn't even bother following the law that mandates that the state safety panel must meet at least twice per year.

North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has 11 citizens she can rely on for guidance about worker safety issues.

It’s been five years, though, since Berry and her team called them together for a meeting.
The law is clear: the council “shall hold no fewer than two meetings during each calendar year.”

While Berrry merrily tarries, things get very scary.

Living and dying under Cherie Berry's watch

Sorry, but your death means nothing to us:

Goodson, an Orange County man who spent most of his life cutting and dragging massive logs off vast tracts of land, was missing from the 2013 tally. That March, Goodson died instantly when a log slipped from a machine his boss operated and struck him in the head. State inspectors quickly opened a case, but they stopped before getting very far.

Goodson’s arrangement with his boss, Danny Gentry of Gentry’s Logging, was informal, consisting of a handshake and a wad of cash paid irregularly. In the eyes of state investigators, Goodson wasn’t an employee. An investigator closed the case after determining that Goodson, as an independent contractor, wasn’t in the agency’s jurisdiction.

Just an aside: This type of employment is exactly what Civitas/JLF and other Libertarian groups think would be the best arrangement. No government oversight, no worker's compensation insurance, just a personal contract between worker and employer. And if you die on the job? That's just the free market providing a job opening for someone else. And filtering the reported deaths makes for some good (however fraudulent) PR:

The Elevator Queen gets some embarrassing national exposure

Unfortunately, it's a rather obscure source:

In North Carolina, Berry’s official portrait graces the state’s elevator inspection certificates, like the one seen here in a downtown Raleigh hotel elevator car.

Berry, a Republican, was first elected to her post in 2000 and has won re-election ever since. But she’s come under intense criticism, too, for the Department of Labor’s failure to crack down on construction companies treating laborers as independent contractors, which the News & Observer notes is not just unlawful but is a practice that “gives cheating companies an unfair advantage over their competitors. It saves the dishonest companies money but typically leaves workers without Social Security contributions or workers’ comp coverage.”

I wonder how long she would keep winning re-elections if they removed her picture from elevators? And why isn't that considered campaign communications? Campaign communications paid for by the government, no less.

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